Nothing Stays The Same:
(Click for Audio) We often wish for simpler times of our childhood. Why? There’s a warm fuzzy feeling about those older times when we were children. The weight of the world was not carried on our shoulders, or in every cell of our body. Energy levels were high. Anticipation levels flowed continually higher as special events rounded the corner.
Friends coming over. Summers. Back yard Camp-outs! Staying out all day and only coming in when it gets darker… Birthdays! Bike riding just about everywhere and anywhere you wanted.
Riding the tree tops when blue northers came through, and only coming down once we saw or heard lightening….damming up the ditches after a deluge and making our own pond to play in!
Swimming in creeks, lakes, ponds, even occasionally in salt water. Playing Tarzan and diving into the water to wrestle the alligator! Where’s my red rubber knife? No fear. And I’m sure we chased snakes away without even knowing it!
In some of these younger days, I remember what it was like to go to a nearby hamburger stand and get hamburgers…6 for a dollar! Meat, Ketchup, Bread… Soda was a nickle. 2 cent deposit on the bottles that you would get back when you returned the bottle. Penny candy was a bag full of yummy delights for a trip down the road, and for a quarter you could eat for hours. And I remember a gas war between two filling stations and I could get a gallon for 11 cents…. That mowed a lot of yards for next to nothing!
The list is long of those things of youthful enjoyment. But we realize, as we age, nothing stays the same. The world is constantly changing, and not always for the better. Laws. Rules. Politics. Technology. Restrictions. And we are confounded by the things people do today that back then were just the way we lived. Seat belts? Never had them until I was a teenager and nearly out of high school, and for the most part they were simply stuffed down into the seat crevices. Helmets for simply riding our bikes like maniacs down the hills and through the woods? Wouldn’t dream of it, and look! They are requirements in many areas! Child restraint seats? What? We slept on the back deck of the car, in the floor well, and spread out all over…
I was talking with an acquaintance the other day, and though we are 15+ years apart, our youth was often similarly experienced. He described a paper bag size he would pick up from the grocery store, and I immediately identified it as a #8… Remember #3 washtubs, #2 pencils… Immediately these phrases transferred both of us backwards. Almost blissfully. His years were more freshly remembered, and his experiences were substantially different, but we loved the memories! And sharing them.
Perhaps that’s part of the problem today. We seldom share these things without someone rolling their eyes in disbelief… Y’all did what? I don’t want to hear it…
Not that those times were easy. Life was changing during our darling years, but the responsibility was carried by those older folks in our lives…Those that worked to put food on the table, roof over the head, and clothes to wear freshly to school and church. They often worked hard to keep our tender minds away from the awful truth of reality. Just imagine, they were probably wishing for their younger times!
I must have been only 3, or 4. We all pile into a truck and head to a creek where we went swimming in whatever clothes we happened to have on. No trip to buy stuff just so we could enjoy the water! No… Wear what you’ve got on and let’s go dog paddle in the creek … and that’s exactly what I remember! My grandmother dog paddling in the creek in her dress and barefooted! A refreshed and bedraggled group made it back home a little later… I remember that! Let’s go swimming!
But reality sets back in. I’m older. My schedule is full. There’s not much time left at the end of the day to simply step back and enjoy.
The other night, my bride and I, while we are on “Stay-Cation”, hopped in the car and drove the 6 miles to Dairy Queen to enjoy some evening ice cream… What a treat! Unexpected. Let’s go! It’s like living back in the past of our first years of marriage when it was nothing to stay up all night and watch the sun rise on the beach in Galveston. Sitting on the hood of the car and enjoy the night slipping away as day takes over. Then popping into a diner for some breakfast, and back home to play some catch-up on the missed sleep.
Maybe some things can stay the same. Though we are living in faster times, there are possibilities of the past being enjoyed with current moments. Perhaps you only have to put the past into into modern perspective and seize the moment of joy as they potentially pass your way. That way, you can reminisce in another 20 years about those good ol’ days…